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review 2017-10-02 06:56
Snoozefest delight
Two for Trust (Dreamspun Desires Book 34) - Elle Brownlee
A Tag Team Review with Sara!

--How to sum up Two for Trust?

I've been wanting to read something from this author for a while. And once I read the blurb and saw the cover... I rushed to read it.

After reading, it was not a great first impression of this author's work.

The elements are there for a winning story:

Finch - down and out dorky ginger ex-nurse who struck out on life in the work and love department
Benedict - a very stiff upper lip Brit with a mysterious air
A British countryside vacation filled with historical talking points

The air for romance while on vacation was there.

The thing is, neither main characters were interesting or charismatic enough to have a believable romance. I hesitate to call this a romance. There is a HEA and the right words showed up at times. But the delivery is so wooden, so stiff, so dry, so crusty.

My favorite part is stolen instant oatmeal. I think it was the highlight.

The book spends so much time on the English historical artifacts and research that the non existent romance and chemistry suffers from the boring and dry characters. Finch was pathetic and too similar in disposition to make any impact. Benedict... he was too "reserved". He just manipulated Finch and didn't share anything until it was too late.

And that ending? Please. *side eyes*

If you're new to the Dreamspun line, do not try this. I can't recommend. I do enjoy a quiet romance but this was too staid, too reserved and too boring.

So in closing, if you're having difficulties going to sleep or need something to start a nap, I'd give this book a try.

It worked wonders for me.

A copy provided for an honest review.
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review 2017-09-27 03:27
Not all rent boy romances are the same...
Camouflage - Jon Keys

A Hearts On Fire Review

TWO HEARTS--All that glitters is not gold. And in the case of Camouflage by Jon Keys, not all rent boy romances will be a good one. Will I ever learn? Doubt it.

Two twenty-somethings befriend each other online (where and why is never given - a bigger issue with this story) Nash, a pierced and tatted rent boy from Atlanta is beaten up by a john prior to flying out to finally meet the guy he's been talking to online, Luke, a Oklahoman farmer. Nash, who is broke and miraculously makes a recovery from black eyes and bruising that needed to be covered up with makeup, seems to forget his predicament to fly to Oklahoma.

Luke and his best friend Chris are excited that Nash is visiting their small hometown for the week. Luke hasn't had a chance to be in love since he's deeply in the closet and screwing around with an even more closeted prick. They only got around to maybe 2nd or 3rd base, so consider Luke a virgin to backdoor pleasures.

The bruises are forgotten to continue into a very dull tale of two men who meet online maybe? They don't seem to share any interests. Add that with their personalities that are as boring as watching paint dry and the reading experience was close to painful.

Ever wanted to know how fast food tastes? You can find that in Camouflage. A page dedicated to eating everyday junk food. There were too many every day actions that was given too much page time that it weakens the already weak writing.

If you ignore the mundane events, you get a basic story that moved nowhere. The plot is supposed to be out of town rent boy finds love with closeted cowboy with some sexual discovery added in. The big secret of Nash being a rent boy was supposed to be a big thing, but the way it was presented... not really.

The sex was okay. If you're into pit licking, potential readers will rejoice. (Not knocking that kink) The lack of chemistry and the odd 0 to 180 mph direction to the feels dept. just added to the overall lackluster vibe.

Too many missed opportunities to make a tried and true trope interesting to read. And that added bit of drama in the 20% was the final nail in the coffin for me.

This was my first time reading the author and I'm pretty sure it will be final call for me. Potential readers, try a sample first.

Who knows, detailed minutiae and 2-D characters could be your thing.

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review 2017-02-14 05:20
Had to pull out my rarely used DNF card for this one
Casto - Xenia Melzer
Had to pull out my rarely used DNF card for this one




This was a disaster for me from page 1.

*clears throat*

Not the first time I've read books that don't work for me. I try to see if I can attempt to catch the plot the author tries to deliver, look for something positive about any story I read.

First time author Xenia Melzer's fantasy/mythology Master/slave based debut efforts does show that she is very interested in the world she created in Casto. So much so, that there is centuries of history, math lessons and hundreds of characters introduced. The author was indulgent with new plot thread and tangent written. You can literally read pages and pages of mythology before getting to the premise of Casto.

Meaning a bogged down info dump in the form of a base...

Then we get through millenia of history and convolution to get to two gods who was reduced to a demigod to teach the humans of the new world a lesson, Renaldo and his older brother Canubis (which I kept reading as cannabis). I questioned how all the other mythological beings could have fantasy-ish names and then we get Renaldo as the main character.

Anyway... Renaldo is thousands of years old and he sees 16 year old virgin warrior, Casto, do some impossible feat and take down Renaldo's top warriors. He takes Casto as his slave. And there is fighting and infighting with too many warriors/slaves/people/witches? to count nor care about.

Casto hates Renaldo. Renaldo wants to bed Casto. Doesn't for awhile because he wants Casto to want it. But then we're told there is chemistry. After months/days/years, they fight and a cherry is taken.

 Then an orgy pops up as a spring ritual.

I got off the Casto ride after that. The sex was too forced. The chemistry was the same. And the story telling was all over the place. I don't know why a five year old pops up in between Casto's slavery. Maybe a metaphor? Or flashback?

What the story needed - a clear plot, editing, and reorganization of a lot of paragraphs.

When there are more than 10 characters to keep up with, I think index of all of the characters might be necessary. We go from 2 to 4 then 6 gods, then there are 8 demigods on top of the 6 to keep track of.

Too much.

The Master/slave relationship? I wish there was a different way the entire Casto/Renaldo pairing was written. It read awkward and weird. I've read better stories with this semblance of a plot - war prize/ owner pairing - too much convolution to let the characters come to life in Casto.

Maybe the story got better by the end. (Though I doubt it as more characters kept getting added as I progressed) I'm not interested in finding out or even reading more of this series.

I do not recommend this to fantasy lovers.

A copy provided for an honest review.
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review 2017-02-03 05:00
Bleh and meh.
Beyond the Grill - Tracey Michael
Two Hearts--Based on the blurb, I thought I was going to get a redeemed cumdump romance novella. I was hopeful for a reformed cum dumpster who doesn't know their worth, and they finally realize it on their own and also rebuild self esteem to find love. (Without a magic penis please.) Alas... that wasn't to be found here.

In fact, it barely delivers the blurb.

Justin is (who knows how old) but he works in a fast food chain as an assistant manager and learned to fix cars because he read a manual. He flirts with his friend/acquaintance who he thinks is straight and doesn't know how read his stalking signals. (I'll get to that later) This friend/acquaintance owns a mechanic shop, is "alpha" (and not a shifter--trust me I checked) and doesn't know how to communicate well.

The two sloppily date, drily start a...relationship(?) (I don't know what to call that when it was poorly executed within such a short time frame). Spoiler-ish: the story's tone is so monotone, a third person is thrown in for left field drama which includes roofie and coke use. (Side note: I'm not going to lecture on how to use roofies, but just to take a picture of a person naked?)

I could go on for hours on the book's so-called villain or the nonsensical scenes such as characters commenting smelling smoke when there was a locked door. You'd think there was a fire right? Wrong? It's a guy with a gun. Potential triggers: attempted rape

Basically, it was a no from the first page, but I was still holding out hope for a personality transplant.

Shane stalks Justin, who is presented as a doormat in the beginning. And is a doormat throughout the story. He learned nothing and did nothing. Shane actually hooks up with someone else very easily when his access to Justin is denied, so any feeling (which is questionable from the start) is meaningless.

The writing style is too underdeveloped for the mediocre plot.  Who are the main characters? How old are they? Why would the "villain" want to be with Shane? Or Justin? Rather than spend time on discussing drag racing, Fast and the Furious (which I've never watched) and the NHRA, it could have been spent on making the characters three dimensional and more than one note. Justin and Shane just continued to say they were lonely instead of show, a main problem of the book. Too much tell, not enough showing. And then when it came time to make a difference with the story, it was way too late.story could've been cut in half or written differently if the characters were developed more.

The best thing about the book? It's an AngtsyG cover. I kinda fell for the cover and then read the blurb.

Beyond the Grill is not the worst book I've read this year, which is also a plus in its favor. I just can't recommend.

The story ends with a HEA. And if you prefer a book to be penetration free, look no further. I can guarantee, this will be my last time reading from this author.

P.S. If anyone knows of cum dumpsters who reform and find self esteem with a romance added in, please point me in the direction. I'm on the hunt for reading something like that.

A copy provided for an honest review.
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review 2016-10-06 06:48
Yawn City with a side of 'Are You Kidding Me'? sauce
Blind Date (Back in the Game) (Volume 1) - Kay Doherty
TWO HEARTS--I have no shame in admitting, I jumped to read this because there was cheating mentioned in the blurb. Warning: there is on page sex between an MC and another character.

(Good) cheating romances aren't easy to find. Unabashedly doing whatever to get the other person...even if it means to break another's heart? It can make for a strong story. A lot of times when there is cheating in a romance, the author will cop out, try to make it the new person's fault for the other person who is currently in a relationship for stepping out.

Basically, blame game is supposed to be the stand in for passion. The old 'I wasn't myself, you made me do it' excuse.

You can find a version of that in Blind Date. For readers who need the protagonists to not admit to being guilty or owning up to their feelings from the start, Blind Date might be a choice for you.

Dekker Callan falls for a guy's voice during a charity dating auction. He wasn't allowed to see his contestants. He meets his choice, Slade Gannon on their blind date and falls for him after a conversation of shallow small talk. Slade just got back with his boyfriend...even though he feels something too for Dekker. And is upfront about it.Which kind of makes him a jerk but I can understand where he came from after the first date. Days of flirting stretched into weeks to try to move the story along, painting Slade's boyfriend George as a possessive cheater and liar though...pretty suspect for me.

First time author Kay Doherty read like...a first time author's effort to me. There were too many characters (who were also unofficial mind readers), too much superficial, poor development and over the top antics. Plus, instalove.

I tried to like this book. But it was a sinking ship when one of the MC's declared, "I'll start my seduction then. I'm gonna...I'm gonna eat food and make him wish it was him, and then I'll win".

And it kept sinking with contradicting antics from the characters like Dekker who told the reader he was outgoing and acted shy. Or declaring he was going to "go full force" in seducing Slade and by the next paragraph declaring he wasn't going to "force the issue".

The ex-boyfriend got crazier as the story progressed, though his behavior and the characteristics had me question his purpose for the story. Without him, the story has no conflict. And is just a lot of 'I can tell by the way you listened to his voice, he's perfect for you'

Rather than go into all of the quotes that I quibbled with. I'll just leave a few questions.

Simple questions: Do most friends waltz into bathrooms while showering and talk to each other naked? [Take out them being men as a factor] Or make out with each other (while in relationships) to make their sad friend feel better? Or know exactly what you're thinking by looking at you? Why was everyone able to read each other's mind, know exactly what they were thinking and thought exactly the same?

*tilts head*

Something about the way the men interacted with one another read unnatural to me. The thin romance, the extreme HEA...nothing worked for me. If I don't find anything remotely worthy in either MC, I'm not invested into whatever is dished out. One guy is a adult toy store owner, the other is a wine and gallery owner. The fact that their jobs read tacked on and no development was given to either guy, more attention was paid to having cute twins and their hot buff boyfriends parade about... read paper thin. The premise was interesting, the delivery didn't work for me.

I know I'm not the right reader for this writing style. It's in the same vein of Stormy Glenn/Scarlet Hyacinth/Joyee Flynn which has a solid readership. Fans of that band of authors, might enjoy Kay Doherty's efforts.

The story isn't bad. I'd be curious to see a story from this author, after a lot more books under her belt. But I'm pretty sure, this is a one time deal for me.

If you prefer not be invested in the characters, just want a solid HEA with an over the top/left field plot twist thrown in...check out Blind Date.

A copy provided for an honest review.
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